Letters (12/13-12/20)

United Nations paranoia

Recently the United States Senate convened to vote on the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD). Former Senator Bob Dole, a disabled veteran, sat in the well of the Senate to support its passage. This treaty, a model for the world, was based on the Americans with Disabilities Act enacted by President George H.W. Bush, would ensure that disabled persons throughout the world would not face discrimination. One hundred twenty-eight nations had already signed on to this treaty.

The CRPD had bi-partisan support, and was backed by groups advocating for the disabled as well every veteran’s group in the USA. The treaty needed 66 votes to pass; it received 61, with every Democrat and 8 Republicans voting aye. 38 Republicans voted no, some who actually had sponsored the legislation flip-flopped under intense political pressure. Opposition groups claimed that under the CPRD our sovereignty would be threatened and the UN could make decisions regarding American disabled children against the wishes of their parents. This was absolutely untrue. The UN under this treaty did not have any authority to supersede U.S. state or federal law.

Fears of loss of our sovereignty have now reached Saugerties. Claims that our property rights would be lost have surrounded Agenda 21, a worldwide UN effort to deal with climate change. The Greenway, a NYS program, has been attacked, even in the face of grants that enabled the Glasco Mini-Park and other projects to be developed in town. These erroneous claims that are riling up fears in some residents, are simply unfounded, and must be counted with the facts surrounding these programs.


Hopefully, the CPRD will come up for a vote again. Let’s hope that misguided political opponents will not block this effort to protect the civil rights of disabled citizens throughout the world.

Mike Harkavy


Comprehensive plan should be read by all

I have reread in detail all 61 pages of the draft of the update of the Saugerties Comprehensive Plan and noted a few comments for the next public hearing. I was totally blown away by the astoundingly detailed and thoughtful analysis and recommendations made by the committee, chaired by Pat Fitzsimmons and advised by Dan Shuster. Pat, as chair of the Comprehensive Planning Committee for the town, has devoted countless hours over several years, making a contribution that will long be valued. In reading this well prepared document, one can  hear the individual voices of the members, but also the many others in the community that they have consulted. I hope your readers will take the time to read this draft and weigh in while there is time.

Barry Benepe


Comptroller still doing audits

Last week’s Hugh Reynold’s column contained an error regarding a Charter revision that I would like to correct. He reported that under the revision to the County Charter the county executive would be auditing himself.

This is incorrect. Under the original Charter the comptroller had been given both the accounting and the auditing duties. The revision to the Charter split away the accounting duties from the comptroller and put it under the finance department. the auditing function is still wholly under the powers and duties of the comptroller.

While I cannot speak for the other commissioners, it is my opinion that as a group we were clearly opposed to any changes that would increase spending. Personally, I was under the assumption that transferring the accounting duties from the comptroller to the finance department would entail transferring the accountants as well. I for one, would have opposed any change that called for an additional employee.

He was also mistaken in reporting that Dare Thompson was a charter drafter. She was not part of the original Charter Commission nor the Revision Commission; and knowing her personally, I do not think she would have ever inferred that she was.

Seemingly his source for this story threw him a curve.

Thomas P. Kadgen


Don’t donate to Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is a homophobic organization that discriminates against gays and lesbians and supports anti-gay legislation. I see the bell ringers in front of more stores than ever before this year including Price Chopper, Adams and Wal-Mart.

There are so many local and national organizations who do good work for the disadvantaged including Family of Woodstock, United Way and Hudson Valley ARC which are not homophobic, so please don›t support the Salvation Army.

Mark Smith


How to stop fracking

Last week the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) unexpectedly took further action to possibly allow horizontal slick water high volume hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) in our state. The latest developments can be found at catskillcitizens.org or frackaction.com. Let›s all commit now to make it to Albany for this rally.

When? Wednesday, January 9, rain, shine or snow What? Governor Andrew Cuomo›s State of the State Address Who? Tens of thousands of New Yorkers from every corner of the state Why? Show the Governor and our legislators «we the people» do not want this toxic form of drilling for gas in our state Where? Empire State Plaza in Albany

RSVP? Sign up for more info and transportation at bit.ly/VmdiS7

Please encourage your friends, family and colleagues here and all over the state to be there. Remember democracy is not a spectator sport. Together our collective presence will send a strong message.

Rosalyn Cherry
New Paltz

There are 2 comments

  1. Kathy

    Today, December 21st I received my copy of the Oct. 25th issue of the Saugerties Times; even out here in the “wilds of Ohio” I look forward to the news of the town that I grew to know and love..the first page had a Zombie crawl and I wondered What in the World; then looked at the date..with all fairness to our postal carrier, he has a very small car and is always loaded down with mail..but..how come it took so long to get here?
    Merry Christmas to our friends in Saugerties!

  2. Bernardo Stevens

    United Nations:

    “The UN under this treaty did not have any authority to supersede U.S. state or federal law.” you say.

    If this treaty has no power over us, as you claim, then why are you so gung ho that it be signed?

    “Let’s hope that misguided political opponents will not block this effort to protect the civil rights of disabled citizens throughout the world.”

    Or are you going to pretend that the bloody dictators that make up half of the leaders in the UN will be swayed by some UN document?

Comments are closed.